Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Family Therapy


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Shelley K Green

Committee Member

Alicia Gomez

Committee Member

Natalie Rothman


In 2018, 14,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 18 were incarcerated in the United States (Fosler, 2018). Incarcerated are more likely than non-incarcerated youth to experience anxiety, depression, violence, and behavior issues. While mental health treatment facilities often provide resources such as continuing education, General Education Development, vocational training, and talk therapy services (Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, 2019), Equine-FacilitatedPsychotherapy (EFP) is a relatively unexplored intervention for this population. The increasing need for innovative mental health services tailored to specific client populations has inspired collaborations among community professionals seeking to deliver high-impact interventions. One such community effort was developed through the joining of three community partners: Stable Place, a non-profit EFP organization; the Department of Family Therapy at Nova Southeastern University; and The Quell Foundation. They came together to fund, staff, and collaborate with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to provide EFP services to the incarceratedyoung male clients at the Pompano Youth Treatment Center. Funding for this project allowed participants to attend up to 12 EFP sessions and participate in voluntary post-treatment interviews. The study explored the participants’ experiences with EFP using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) along with anautoethnographic account of my experience as a clinician which allowed for a more complex understanding of the process and offered a rich and multifaceted view of this experiential approach to treatment.